DOWNS — It was a classic matchup of contrasting styles: free-swinging puncher pitted against gritty boxer.
In the end, the as-advertised, big-hitting offense of Shelbyville High School erupted for 22 unanswered points in the third quarter to knock No. 5-ranked Tri-Valley out of the Class 2A playoffs with a 50-35 second-round decision Saturday at Viking Field.
"They made more plays than we did today. They've got a heck of a team," said Tri-Valley coach Josh Roop.
Tri-Valley ends its season at 9-2, while Shelbyville (9-2) advanced to the quarterfinals against Westville (11-0).
The teams went toe-to-toe over the first two quarters with Tri-Valley striking first on a 4-yard run by Zach Woodring. Shelbyville's Cade Helton pulled the Rams even on a tackle-breaking, 48-yard run.
Tri-Valley's Hunter Gawlik scored from 3 yards out just two minutes later to give the Vikings a 13-6 lead after the first quarter.
Shelbyville's double-threat quarterback, Turner Pullen, went to work in earnest in the second quarter, diving in from 1 yard out and then scoring the two-point conversion for a 14-13 Rams' lead.
Woodring erased it with a 31-yard sweep around the right end on Tri-Valley's next possession.
The big-armed Pullen then threw the first two of his four touchdowns passes on the day, hitting Kentrell Beck with a 31-yard dart down the middle before finding Cade Watson with a backside 42-yarder to put the Rams back on top 28-20.
Woodring scored his third TD of the game on a 4-yard counter with time winding down in the half and the teams headed into intermission tied at 28-all.
The third-quarter Shelbyville flurry began with a bubble screen pass from Pullen that Beck turned into a 63-yard score. After stopping the Vikings on a fourth-and-three deep in their own end, Pullen again drove the Rams down the field, capped by a scrambling 16-yard toss to a wide-open Jack Lopez.
Pullen finished the day 20-for-33 for 335 yards and two interceptions, both by Cole Maxedon, to go along with his four touchdowns.
The dagger came on the ensuing Tri-Valley possession when Brett Spears picked up a Woodring fumble and scampered 25 yards to up the Shelbyville margin to 50-28 after three quarters.
"We hadn't been down by two scores all year," said Roop. "We had to do some things we don't like to do but they made us do that."
Woodring closed out the scoring with his fourth touchdown, a 7-yard run early in the final period. The area's leading rusher ended with 215 yards on 35 carries.
The Rams then took the air out of the ball, chewing up the remaining 10 minutes of game clock with Pullen running the ball exclusively. Pullen wound up with 98 yards on 27 carries.
"There's nothing for our boys to be ashamed of. This team probably progressed more than any team I've had in getting better from week one," added Roop. "They (Shelbyville) have a good shot at this. Their QB is a good player; a really good player."
"We score points and we had to stop them from doing so. Our goal was to get them out of what they do," said Shelbyville coach Bill Duckett. "We were really worried about their offensive line as they play so low and fast. We got the stops when we needed to."